Japanese capital, French cuisine and Danish chairs

kent_contrailCH20 chairs in one of the dining rooms in restaurant Pirouette in Tokyo.

By Kent Dahl

A restaurant is not only a place to eat. It is also a place for communication. Thus, after delicious food one of the most important ingredients is a comfortable chair. With this belief in mind Japanese restaurateur, Kenichi Mori, has furnished several of his French inspired restaurants in Tokyo with Danish chairs.

”It is obvious that the food must be delicious and beautiful, when you visit a restaurant,” says director and owner Kenichi Mori from Contrail Co. in Tokyo, who runs a string of bistros and a wine bar in the Japanese capital.

”The atmosphere is also important, but when you go to a place for slow eating the chairs are especially important. People have to sit comfortably to enjoy a good meal,” Mori adds.

So while he delegated the creation of his latest restaurant to the interior design firm, Daikei Mills in Tokyo, Mori himself went looking for chairs to fill Pirouette. An upscale, yet casual-chick themed French bistro and café with an epicerie, situated on the ground floor of the combined business, shopping and apartment complex, Toranomon Hills, in the centre of Tokyo.

Mori had already done some homework, when he opened a wine bar, La Luciole where you can enjoy quality cuisine with wine, in the fashionable Ginza-area in Tokyo some years back. It is partly furnished with a black armchair from the Danish furniture manufacturer PP Møbler.

”Talking with customers in my other restaurants at that time, I understood that comfortable and good looking seating is appreciated a lot, says Mr. Mori, who has a ”Spanish Chair” designed by the Danish furniture designer, Børge Mogensen, at home.

”I actually do not care from which country the chairs are made. However, Danish chairs turned out to best fit my requirements,” says Mori, who expanded his search to include another Danish furniture manufacturer – Carl Hansen & Son.

As a consequence, Pirouette’s 50-seat restaurant and 20-seat café/bar are furnished with a mix of chairs from Carl Hansen & Son and PP Møbler. The café and the restaurant are separated by an open kitchen and the restaurant’s contemporary design is a mix of white walls, concrete and marble. The clientele is business people working in and around Toranomon Hills, residents in the adjoining apartments as well as outsiders attracted by the food and atmosphere.

”The chairs are rather costly compared with other options,” says Mori. ”However, even when used for a long time they look good,” he adds.

Apart from making his customers feel good, Mori also hopes that his staff enjoys working in a nice atmosphere, and thus enhancing their service. ”When visiting restaurants in France, I feel that the customers have a certain appreciation of the staffs’ efforts to make them happy. If this kind of mutual respect can be enhanced in Japan, then it would be nice,” says Mori.

The Danish chairs used in the restaurant Pirouette are the CH20 from Carl Hansen & Son and PP701 from PP Møbler. Both models are designed by Hans J. Wegner. See more about the restaurant here.